Adelaide United’s Women’s Team will be aiming to finish the 2011/12 Westfield W-League season on a positive note when they host Melbourne Victory at Burton Park on Sunday.
The Lady Reds wrap up their season at home after breaking a 34-match winless streak with a 1-0 victory over Perth Glory last month, before succumbing 5-0 last week to the record-breaking minor premiers Canberra United.
Coach David Edmondson said closing the season at home will provide the perfect platform to finish the season on a high.
“Certainly we want to finish on a positive note, particularly at home,” he said.
“Some of our best performances have been at home and the home support obviously helps. Melbourne is probably the best side we have played yet so it will be tough to beat them but we will be looking to produce a positive performance.”
Edmondson admitted last week-s performance was positive, despite the score line blowing out with Canberra banging in three goals in the final five minutes.
The Lady Reds coach conceded Canberra were a far superior side in terms of fitness and were able to power through the final stages of the match.
“Our game plan was on the whole working, apart from two lapses of concentration in the first half we really restricted Canberra and prevented their key players from influencing the game,” he said.
“In the second half we changed things to be more positive and we had three good chances when the score was 2-0, one coming back off the inside of the post and one forcing a great save from Aroon Clansey in goal for Canberra. The last 15 minutes showed again that our fitness is not where it needs to be.”
The Lady Reds will be hoping the match against the Victory will give them a chance to atone for last week, but Edmondson is under no illusions of how tough a task taking on Melbourne is.
“In that last game Melbourne really gave us a footballing lesson and showed us what can be produced from a team relatively short on big names,” he said.
“We also learnt that however good a side is or how well it is playing we can cause them problems, which we did with a change of tactics in the final 30 minutes of the first game, so we will be going into the game with a respect for Melbourne but no fear of them.”
Reflecting upon his first season in charge, Edmondson acknowledged it was difficult to precisely measure the success of the season.
He noted there were significant improvements and major development within the squad like blooding young talent such as the Australia U17 Women-s 15-year-old trio Emma Checker, Grace Henry and Ebony Philcox.
Edmondson also added the inclusion of the experienced Kiwi International pair, Abby Erceg and Anna Green, was hugely influential.
“That-s a tough question to answer really because although I have seen major improvements in the side and in individual players, I am very ambitious and going into the final game of the season with just one win on the board is not what I was hoping for or expected,” he said.
“The season has been positive in that it has unearthed some young talent capable of pushing the side forward in Emma Checker, Grace Henry and one or two names you will hear much more of next season.” “The professionalism of Anna Green and captain Abby Erceg has also been a real positive, two full internationals, who have really shown the local players what it takes to be an International and they have continually set the standard in training and in matches.”
“Overall I think I would probably give the season a 6/10. There were some real positives but still big strides to be made going forward.”
Adelaide United v Melbourne Victory Sunday 15 January Burton Park, Adelaide Local kick-off: 3pm
Adelaide United squad: 1. Sian MCLAREN (gk), 2. Ruth WALLACE, 3. Anna GREEN, 4. Daniela DI BARTOLO, 5. Abby ERCEG (c), 6. Ebony PHILCOX, 7. Racheal QUIGLEY, 8. Leanne SLATER, 9. Marijana RAJCIC, 12. Greta FRENCH-KENNEDY, 13. Vanessa REED, 14. Donna COCKAYNE, 15. Emma CHECKER, 16. Grace HENRY 17. Katherine EBBS, 18. Georgia MACRI, 19. Nenita BURGESS, 20. Kristi HARVEY (gk) * three to be omitted
In: Ebony Philcox, Vanessa Reed, Donna Cockayne (all promoted) Out: Ashleigh Gunning (suspended - one match) Unavailable: Angela Fimmano (injured - season)
Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Brianna DAVEY (gk), 2. Rebekah STOTT, 3. Maika RUYTER-HOOLEY, 4. Kendall FLETCHER, 5. Danielle JOHNSON, 6. Rita MANKOWSKA, 7. Stephanie CATLEY, 8. Ashley BROWN, 9. Georgie KOUTROUVELIS, 10. Jodie TAYLOR (c), 11. Caitlin FRIEND, 12. Jackie VOGT, 13. Katrina GORRY, 14. Enza BARILLA, 15. Amy JACKSON, 16. Louisa BISBY, 17. Gulcan KOCA, 18. Stephanie TANTI, 19. Laura SPIRANOVIC, 20. Cassandra DIMOVSKI (gk) * five to be omitted
In: Katrina Gorry (returns from suspension) Out: None